Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ravens Defenders Flagged for Unnecessary Bravado

Don’t be surprised if Samari Rolle never plays another down in the NFL. Sources close to the team have indicated that Rolle’s medical condition is potentially career threatening primarily because doctors have not yet been able to properly diagnose the ailment. Last Thursday Rolle had a big setback that quickly forced him on to the injury report despite having played well and without medical incident against the Bills.

That said given the mystery shrouding Rolle’s condition, the team would be completely irresponsible by playing him and possibly risking further damage. The team is far more concerned about Samari Roll the man than Samari Rolle the cornerback. We all should be and our thoughts and prayers go out to him.

Much has been written and discussed about Ravens’ defenders being very demonstrative after plays despite being dominated on the scoreboard by the Steelers last Monday Night. Critics say that the behavior makes the players, team and organization look rather foolish when considering the big picture. Don’t count me among those critics – not on this topic anyway.

Look, these athletes are among the best in the world at what they do. Each and every play they compete and if they aren’t ready to compete on every down at an optimum level, they are at risk. They risk further embarrassment or perhaps even more importantly they risk injury if they aren’t completely focused.

Down 35-0, 35-7 or 38-7, who among us would not have a difficult time focusing 100%? Yet they must in order to win their individual match-ups. If Bart Scott needs to bark at the opponent to maintain his focus when his team is being annihilated so what? Don’t you want him to win the next down and the one after that? Would you rather he sheepishly tuck his tail and play like a beaten man; a man devoid of pride?

I’d much rather have a player that still cares despite the score. I’d rather have a proud player who perhaps wants to set the tone for the next encounter with his opponent. And if playing that way requires yapping at the opponent or pounding one’s chest then so be it. Regardless of the score last Monday night, the silver lining in that performance in my opinion was the heart with which the defensive front seven played throughout that game despite being abandoned by the secondary and despite the ineptitude of the Steve McNair led offense.